Where In the Universe #33

Article written: 10 Dec , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Here’s your image for this week’s “Where In The Universe” challenge. Take a look and see if you can name where in the Universe this image is from, and also guess what exactly this image is — there are a few different features here — just what are they? Give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image. The image will be posted today, but we won’t reveal the answer until tomorrow. Post your guess in the comment section, and then check back tomorrow and see how you did. Good luck!

UPDATE (12/12): The answer has now been posted below. If you haven’t made your guess yet, no peeking before you do!!

This is an image of springtime clouds over a crater on Mars, taken by the Mars Odyssey Themis (Thermal Emission Imaging System). Here’s the link to the THEMIS page for more information.

Thanks for being more discreet in adding your guesses in the comment section (no one put any links this time!) The readers don’t have to name their sources! Thanks for playing, and I hope you’ll play again next week!

35 Responses

  1. Yael Dragwyla says


  2. Matthias says

    at first thought: Solaris

  3. LLDIAZ says

    Shadow of a moon over a planet maybe saturn

  4. Zed says

    Martian crater with clouds passing overhead? Taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

  5. Martin says

    Clouds (lee wave?) over a crater on Mars taken by the THEMIS instrument of Mars Odyssey (see NASA photojournal PIA10810).

  6. Andreas Santoso says


  7. Zvezdichko says

    I guess this is of Mars, taken by a soviet spacecraft – probably Mars 3 or Mars 5.

  8. Zvezdichko says

    LOL, I was right about Mars, however it’s INDEED of Mars Odyssey, not Mars 3.

  9. Assi says

    A Martian crater, and clouds over it?

    I think that it’s taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, it has taken many beautiful pictures of the Martian surface.

  10. Bilal says

    A Crater on the surface of mars cover by sand dunes, this picture by MGS (Mars Global Surveyor) .

  11. This is the moon Enceladus taken by Cassini as it passed through the rings of Saturn.

  12. Dan Tillmanns says

    Darned kids. I knew that I should not have let them take the peanut butter jar to the beach. Sure enough, they lost the lid in the sand.
    It does look like something half buried on Mars.

  13. Ric Jacyno says

    Mars crater with sand dunes blown over time, taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

  14. Ric Jacyno says

    Martin is correct see (see NASA photojournal PIA10810).

  15. Damon says

    I think I see Jupiter’s storm dot in the top left corner. So I have to say Jupiter. As for the waves I am not sure but they could be radiation or something. All though it does look like the Death Star to.

  16. Jorge says

    Not an easy task, this one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this feature before, bit I’m risking a guess of a pretty fresh impact basin on Titan, snapped by Cassini. The boomerang-shaped features, which are the most confusing aspect of this image, would then be cloud bands hovering over it.

    I’m far from certain this time, though…

  17. Jorge says

    Hm… seems I got this one wrong, although the cloud part was right.

    But would the smartasses please stop giving ponters? That spoils the game for everybody else (at least the part about waiting for the answer; some of us do not check other people’s comments before giving a guess) and to me it says that you don’t really know: you just know where to look.

    Yes, Martin, I’m talking to you. Among others.

  18. RL says

    I kept flipping between Mars and Earth and went with Earth. What look like clouds convinced me. I didn’t think Mars had clouds like that….

  19. edu says

    martian dunes.?
    or is it earth..? hmm…

  20. I believe this might be clouds going across the atmosphere of Neptune near a storm system on the planet.

  21. Jennifer says

    maybe a dust storm or clouds passing over a crater on Mars??

  22. Elias says

    I think its earth or mars, these must be sund dunes over mars or clouds over earth, and i will bet on earth. Maby the crater in the USA? Arizona i think

  23. NickM says

    To point the obvious out again, why not suspend comment publishing until the answer is revealed. Those such as Martin take pleasure in ruining the quiz.

  24. alfamonaro says

    At first I had noo clue, it looks like a photo of a mould! The though of a gigantic mould is kinda fun, but i digress i’d say its a crater under what looks like clouds although maybe it’s burried under dunes, so prime candidates in my mind would be either the earth or mars…

  25. Mark says

    I believe this is an image of cloud wakes over the South Orkney Islands near the Antarctic Circle/South Atlantic.

  26. Astrofiend says

    Crater with dunes in it, and the cloud is definitely affected by the presence of the crater which would be unlikely for anything bar a high altitude volcanic crater on Earth.

    I’m going cloud over Martian crater.

    The quality and res of the image seems somewhat poor for a highly modern craft – I’m going waaay back and claiming VIKING took the image in question!!!

    So there it is – Martian crater with Viking.

  27. Astrofiend says

    Viking orbiter obviously, not the lander!

  28. Member

    Looks like the cloud patterns & surface of Titan!

  29. Vino says

    If thats a cloud cover that rules out everything other than Earth and Mars….So i am going with a crater in Mars..

  30. Vincent says

    A wild guess – earth and it’s a satellite’s view of the shock waves in the upper atmospehere resulting from a solar eclipse. Maybe in infra-red?

  31. Martin says

    I’m really sorry if I spoilt anything by giving a reference but most people seem to be more than happy to post their own answers without any regard to other comments made.

    I gave the reference to support my answer (which might be wrong). Would giving a precise answer but no reference be ok? Should I have been dishonest and pretended it was a guess? Should I say nothing if I think I know the answer?

    I think it’s a lovely picture whatever it is!

  32. Mr. Obvious says

    Martin, you are being dishonest now. You didn’t know what it was until you started browsing through picture archives.
    If you really knew about this picture, instead of giving us the gratuitous picture facts, you would have given us a story about the series of images this came with, and perhaps some other known facts which arent given as media releases.
    You might be able to fool the ignorant, but you can’t fool the professionals or dedicated hobbyists.

  33. Dawnelle says

    Mars’ big volcano (i forget the name)

    taken through one of their dust storms? (or rust storms) lol

    Neptune idea would work too except for I don’t believe we’ve taken close enough photos to show old volcanos there?

    I’ll check back

  34. 1smartkid says

    it looks like a fishs skin!!!!! Am i right?yes i am;)

Comments are closed.